Just one word of caution. We here are also alternately amused and horrified and perplexed and given hope by what’s been happening.]
How Do Bourgeois Democratic Elections in the US Work?
A decade and a half into the 21st century, the answer is that they work badly. Very badly.
The theory of the US government is based on the “balance of powers” between different sections of the government. Every other year there are elections in every state to choose the 435 members of the national House of Representatives (the lower body of Congress) and one third of the 100 senators (who serve six year terms). Every four years, the president is elected and can serve only two terms. The nine justices on the Supreme Court are not elected and serve for life. When one quits or dies, the president chooses a replacement who must be approved by the Senate.
The President runs the state apparatus and the military, Congress sets government policy by passing laws and the Supreme Court rules on whether laws and government actions are legitimate according to the US Constitution.
There are a lot of obvious holes built into this structure. One is the inequality between the fifty states in the Union. Each state gets two senators, regardless of population, So urban, multi-racial and generally liberal California has 2 senators for 38,000,000 people. The twenty-two smallest states, mostly rural, combined have the same population--and 44 senators! Similarly, presidents are not elected directly, but chosen by an Electoral College where each state gets votes allocated according to the number of representatives and senators. What that means is that if the races go narrowly for one party’s candidate in enough states it can overcome big majorities for the other party in the other states and a candidate will be elected without winning a majority or plurality of the popular vote, as happened with George W. Bush in 2000.